I juz read this article written by Betsy Talbot and posted by Solo Traveler (http://solotravelerblog.com/build-confidence-travel-solo/) and I had a sudden inspiration to share.
'“I can’t go into a restaurant by myself!”
Have any of your friends ever said something like this to you? I know I heard it a lot in my single days, and I wondered how those people managed to eat out, go to the movies, or take vacations.'
And then I realized I've been hearing more of these more and more. Hahaha. Not that it should be a surprise after all the trips I've taken solo. =P Yes. Eating and going out to town alone used to be a daunting thought. I could never understood how others can ever shop or eat or watch movie alone. Until one faithful day when I decided to give it a try by heading to a movie alone. Then it hit me that hey! I actually enjoyed the experience! And after the movie I went and had a good Jap meal at Tonkichi at Shaw. Well. At least that was what I remembered. Besides feeling awkward and out of place initially. I started looking around and saw that there were a handful of others sitting alone and having a meal. Some looked at their phones throughout (while I stare at them =P) while some looked like they couldn't wait to finish their meal and get out of there. Of course there were a couple of solo-ists who seems like they were enjoying their meal and taking time out to glance at others (read: people watch) and I guess it wasn't that bad after all! =)
In relation back to the article:
Confidence. I never knew I could even travel alone. Until that trip to Luang Prabang after going to Bangkok with a friend. But the friend had to go back to classes so I went solo to Luang Prabang to meet a neighbour (a neighbour whom I have spoken less than 10 sentences - I think - to in my 23 years of life.) But I did. It was big step forward and coz I had no friend with me. I literally had to pluck my courage from the sky. Do transfers by myself (in a country where English seems quite limited) and get around town alone (when the neighbour was at work in the day).
One of the photos I cherish to this day. A traveller standing atop Mount Phousi capturing the sunset. <3
Decisiveness. I did whatever I wanted. Whenever I wanted. I had no second opinions that I need to consider. The trip was all about me. Me and me. But perhaps it has come to a point now that when I do travel with friends. I'd rather the other party make the decision and let me juz stone away. =)
Couldn't decide what to have at the night market at the foot of Mount Phousi.
Curiousity. I wandered the streets and alleys alone. Looking at knick knacks and observing people who seemed to have come from all walks of life. It was an eye opener for a girl like me who couldn't remember much about the kampung life I had. But kept me awake on some nights thinking of how life might have been if not for the rapid development of the current government. Don't get me wrong. I love living in a cosmopolitan city. Juz that as the times move on and work starts coming in. A break from the usual hustle and bustle of life is much much needed.
An old lady I spotted making sarongs in an open house.
Solo travel as personal growth. I never imagined that one day I would be making trips on my own. Neither would I have thought possible that I could be independent in such a way that sometimes I scare myself a little too. Through solo travelling I found myself again and loved myself in more ways that I could ever named before. I can pass the days not talking to anyone at all - besides ordering food and asking directions (which to many seems a bit too extreme) but I enjoy it. I enjoy soaking up the atmosphere. The culture. But most of all. I enjoy the freedom of being ME.
Trying to mount an elephant barefooted but ended up facing the wrong direction! What a laugh! =P
Solo travelling. Time to be with me. By me. Would I trade the chance to travel solo with anything? Most definitely not. Travel has become my addiction. <3
Waiting for the monks in the streets of Luang Prabang at 4am in the morning.